Tuesday, May 11, 2010

The Motherhood Penalty

This morning I heard a discussion on a talk show about what an "expert" called "the motherhood penalty."  They were discussing the cost of raising children, and this lady's concern was that when women have children, especially before the age of 26, they don't make as much money as women who don't have children.  I'm sure this is for a variety of reasons.  Some women who have children early in life may not have finished college, other women only work part-time or are not really focused on their careers because they have children, and some women take off work while they have children, and when they go back to the workplace have missed out on promotions.  However, if women wait until after age 26 to have children there is not such a disparity in the amount of money made by mothers and non-mothers.  But then the expert pointed out that when women wait they often face infertility issues. 

I heard this discussion in light of something I read Sunday evening in Shepherding a Child's Heart by Tedd Tripp.

You live in a culture in which there are opportunities for you to do things unheard of in history.  You are presented daily with scores of options for investing your life's energies and creativity.  There is more than you could ever do.  You must, therefore, prioritize.  
Parenting is your primary calling.  Parenting will mean that you can't do all the things that you could otherwise do.  It will affect your golf handicap.  It may mean your home does not look like a picture from Better Homes and Gardens.  It will impact your career and ascent on the corporate ladder.  It will alter the kind of friendships you are able to pursue.  It will modify the amount of time you have for bowling, hunting, television, or how many books you read.  It will mean that you can't develop every interest that comes along.  The costs are high.
I suppose there are many "penalties" to motherhood.  Even though the costs are high, the rewards are great, too.   I'm hoping it will all be worth it.

This was on Mother's Day.  We had a hard time coordinating a picture where everyone looked good.  Ella kept putting her hand on her nose, and James kept trying to put things in his mouth.  I think this might have been the best.  


  1. Lynn you're so pretty. Thank you for abandoning the pursuit of being a corprate goddess so you could mother your children. I know what a tough decision it was for you.

  2. I say to the "Amen" to Jesse's comment.